Stomp

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

There are certain, rather unfortunate implications of Biblical Christianity. One is that our God died awhile back. (Reports have it that he didn’t stay dead, but you know how reliable some reports are.) A formerly dead God is better than none, I guess, but he’s always going to have that stigma attached to him. Another uncomfortable implication is that we now have no excuse not to be like God. Some find this empowering (aka: the Holy Ghost thing), but for religious realists this leads to a life of embarrassment and relentless rationalization (fortified, to our deep relief, by many chatty theologies). Then there is the whole “Go ye into all the world” thing, that Great Commiseration also known as evangelism, which is perhaps the single biggest pain in the ass for believers who just want to mind their own freaking business.

But without a doubt the far and away, hands-down, number one most disturbing implication of Christianity is the in-your-face, over-the-top, fifty megaton contention that our boy Jesus is the only guy on the planet with express tickets to Godville. With one fell stroke, Christianity axes the religious aspirations of 4.5 billion people. That’s right. Taking the Bible at face value would leave 66% of the world’s population out in the cold—er, down in the hot. And if the Jesus rule holds true both backwards and forwards in time, then, out of the approximately 100 billion plus people who have ever lived on earth, over 66 billion men, women, and children are going to burn in hell. It’s enough to make a culturally hip Christian burn with humiliation.

Yet there it is, a narrow road with cliffs on both sides—and, unless you’re a Biblical illiterate, it’s pretty dang hard to Mapquest yourself another route to the Emerald City. Jesus himself hurls the first stone when he flashes his own shockem’s razor: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” That’s about as point-blank as a wannabe savior can get. Soon his disciples also assert their guy’s exclusive rights to save the world. John shoots nearly as straight as his boss: “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Like it or not, this Gospel we’re stuck with is binary: you’re either in or you’re dead.

This means, of course, that according to unrefined Christianity all religions are so not created equal. The whole finding common ground mutual affirmation thing between diverse faiths so we can together skip down the yellow brick road to salvation may be a nice idea, but it’s also total crap. If Jesus is even halfway right (the votes are still coming in), then the other faith traditions are so much manure. Islam is a violent, ignorant lie. Hinduism is a cesspool of superstition and filthy ritual. Buddhism is nothing more than religious morphine for lost causes. Even Judaism, that headache of a heritage, is stuck in the fog bank of religious privilege. Granted, Christians, by and large, are a royal pain in the ass (which is reason enough to burn them at the stake), but they apparently have the only lifeboat on a rapidly sinking ship. You may hate their guts, but if you don’t climb on board with the bastards you’re history.

The one size must fit all religion that is Christianity is definitely problematic for savvy spiritual sophisticates. But I’m guessing that God probably wouldn’t have sent his one and only kid to die so he could give the world yet another salvific option. A dead Jesus for God means a one shot redemption for human spawn. We might as well face it: the Christian God is a hardcore religious bigot. Trouble is, he holds all the damn cards.

(Be sure to keep this to yourself.)

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